Rules Concerning Strengthening Cultural Product Import Management

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All provincial, autonomous region and municipal Party Committee Propaganda Departments, culture offices (bureaus), radio, film and television bureaus (offices), press and publications bureaus, commercial controlling authorities, Guangdong Customs Sub-Administration, Tianjin  and Shanghai Special Customs Offices, all directly subordinate customs:

In recent years, following the incessant expansion of our country’s opening up, cultural product import has progressively expanded in state. Cultural product import, has been given rein to an important function in attracting excellent world culture results, further satisfying the popular masses’ multi-layer and varied spiritual culture requirements. But, at present, problems such as management not being strict, smuggling and piracy, etc, still exist in cultural product import work, influencing opening-up to the outside of the cultural area and the regular order of the cultural market, influencing the healthy development of our country’s cultural undertakings and cultural industries. In order to adapt to the requirements of the development terrain, strengthen and improve cultural product (including cultural services) import management, realistically protect intellectual property rights, raise the level of opening up to the outside, safeguard national cultural security, the following management rules are formulated.


1, Party Committee Propaganda Departments are responsible for coordinating and guiding cultural product import management work. Administrative culture entities are responsible for supervision and management work in areas such as audiovisual product, fine art product and performance programme import, etc; administrative radio, film and television entities are responsible for supervision and management work in areas such as radio and television programme, film, television drama and cartoon import, Sino-foreign co-produced films, television dramas and cartoons, and foreign satellite television channel landing, etc; the administrative press and publication entities are responsible for supervision and management work in areas such as books and periodicals, and electronic publications import, copyright trade and joint publishing activities, etc. Commerce controlling authorities and all levels’ Customs are responsible for cultural product import supervision and management work in their professional scope.


2, According to the principles of “controlling import amounts, optimizing variety structure”, the Central Propaganda Department coordinates with entities such as the Ministry of Culture, SARFT, GAPP, etc., and uniformly formulates cultural product import general plans, annual plans and import examination standards, strengthens macro-economic control and categorized management over cultural product import. Establishing import of foreign cultural products examination and approval filing information networks; shaping daily work coordination mechanisms between relevant management entities and data gathering and analysis systems. With reference to relevant international practices, through methods such as technology standard accreditation, content examination and appraisal and total amount management, etc., conducting control over import amounts and variety structures of radio and television programmes, films, television dramas, cartoons, network games, audiovisual products, books, electronic publications, etc.


3, The State continues to implement licensing over cultural product import, and implements a cultural product import business permit system over business work units. Import business permits are approved and issued by the State Council administrative culture, radio, film and television or press and publications entity. Relevant administrative entities must according to the division of responsibilities, strictly implement the examination and approval system, content examination system and registration filing system of cultural product import, and incessantly perfect standards and standardize procedures. Implementing access systems for cultural product import, all levels’ Customs conduct inspection formalities on the basis of cultural product import access documents approved and issued by administrative culture entities, administrative radio, film and television entities or administrative press and publication entities.


4, Professional import of cultural products such as books and periodicals, electronic publications, audiovisual products, films, television dramas, cartoons and radio and television programmes, etc., must be conducted by Ministry of Culture, SARRFT or GAPP-appointed or approved State-owned culture work units. Foreign performance groups or individuals coming to perform within the borders, must be operated by performance managing organs having performance operation qualifications. Relevant administrative entities must strengthen daily supervision and management over cultural product import business activities, and according to relevant provisions implement annual examination systems over import business work units. Against those importing cultural products in violation of regulations, punishment will be imposed with regard to the different circumstances, where circumstances are grave, import qualifications must be revoked. In the near future, new cultural product import work units will not be approved. Over existing cultural product import business work units, rectification shall be conducted according to the principles of paying attention to controlling amounts, reasonable distribution and optimal structuring.


5, Finished audiovisual product import work is the exclusive business of the China Book Import Company. Audiovisual publishing work units may engage in publishing of imported audiovisual products work within their approved publication work scope. Audiovisual publishing work units must persist in the system of “executive editor preliminary examination, department head second examination and editor in chief final examination”, and keep the gate of preliminary content examination well. The Ministry of Culture Audiovisual Product Examination Committee must straiten content examination standards and internal work procedures, perfect expert meeting systems, strictly keep the content examination gate. Strengthening approved audiovisual product re-examination and finished product filing systems. The General Administration of Press and Publications must strengthen supervision and management over import-version audiovisual product publishing and reproduction. It is necessary to conduct reporting and punishment according to relevant management rules over importing work units in cases of problems such as changing programme names without authorization and not according to regulations during the publishing and distribution process and revising programme content. Organization of foreign audiovisual product exhibitions in the country, must be approved by the Ministry of Culture.


6, As for network game import management, the Ministry of Culture is responsible for conducting supervision over import of Internet culture product content in the utilization segments and conducting supervision and management over network gaming services, the General Administration of Press and Publications is responsible for conducting examination and approval of Internet gaming publications published with authorization from foreign copyright holders, and conducting pre-examination, supervision and management over game publications’ online publishing and distribution. It is necessary to straiten network content examination, and it is especially necessary to pay attention to examine content aimed at minors, strictly investigate and prosecute network games containing harmful content such as sex, violence, terror, etc. Of network game publications approved for import, the product name  may not be changed  or product content revised without authorization .


7, Performance managing organs bidding for foreign performance groups or individuals to come perform in China, report to the Ministry of Culture for approval; bidding for foreign groups or individuals to come to china and conduct commercial performances in song and dance entertainment venues, bidding for Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan region performance groups or individuals to come to the Mainland and conduct commercial performances are reported to the provincial-level administrative culture entity of the performance locality for examination and approval.


8, For engaging in fine art product import business activities or organizing foreign fine art product exhibition activities within the borders, an application must be raised with the provincial-level administrative culture entity of the locality of the activity, and may only be put into effect after Ministry of Culture approval. Foreign-invested art product business organs may not engage in art product import business activities within the borders.


9, Foreign television drama, cartoon and television programme import is reported to SARFT for examination and approval, and an imported item declaration system is implemented, with work units having qualifications making the declaration in connection with regulations. Import of foreign television programmes through transmission networks such as satellites, etc., is reported to SARFT for examination and approval after examination and verification by the provincial-level administrative radio, film and television entity. It is necessary to strengthen content examination and amount control over imported television dramas, cartoons and television programmes, illegal import, piracy broadcasting and illegal dissemination are strictly prohibited.


10, Film import work must be operated by SARFT-appointed import work units. Nationwide distribution work of imported films is carried out by SARFT-approved distribution companies. An amount control and variety optimization for film import must be implemented. All television stations, all television channels importing films especially for television station broadcast must report to SARFT for approval. Organization of activities such as foreign-related film expos, international film festivals, etc., within the borders, must be approved by SARFT.


11, Foreign co-production of films, television dramas and cartoons, must be approved by SARFT. Strengthening project establishment management over co-produced films, television dramas and cartoons, strictly examining co-produced films, television dramas and cartoons. For co-produced film distribution and screening within the borders, co-produced television drama or cartoon distribution and television station broadcast within the borders, a SARFT-issued certificate must be obtained. Films co-produced by the Mainland with Hong Kong and Macau , after mainland controlling authority approval, may be reprinted in localities outside of the mainland. Television dramas co-produced by the mainland with Hong Kong and Macau, after passing mainland controlling authority examination, may be considered as domestic television dramas, broadcasted and distributed.


12, Foreign satellite television channels landing within the borders, must be exclusively represented by a SARFT-appointed organ and strictly examined, approved and managed, their programmes must be transmitted in a uniform orientation after the appointed organ implements content supervision handling. In principle, no foreign satellite television channels will be approved to land within the borders anymore. Realistically strengthening management over foreign television channels presently having obtained landing permission. Adopting necessary supervision and control methods, effectively preventing the invasion of harmful programmes. Without approval, individuals and work units may not install or use satellite television receiving equipment. It is strictly prohibited to illegally transmit foreign satellite television programmes through all kinds of networks such as cable radio and television networks, information networks, etc. It is strictly prohibited to launch popularization and introduction activities for foreign satellite television channels and related reception equipment within the borders.


13, Books, periodicals and electronic publications import work must be operated by enterprises appointed and licensed by the General Administration of Press and Publications. Publication import business enterprises must draft imported publications catalogues and report them to the provincial-level administrative press and publication entity for filing, and are responsible for conducting content examination over imported publications. Provincial-level or higher administrative press and publications entities may directly conduct content examination over imported publications. The General Administration of Press and Publications may prohibit import of specific publications. Organization of foreign books, periodicals and electronic publications exhibitions, must be reported to the General Administration of Press and Publications for approval.


14, Concerning foreign publications’ distribution within the borders, categorised management and subscription ordering systems must be strictly enforced. Any work unit and individual may not without authorization sell foreign periodicals in the market, domestic work units and individuals subscribing to foreign periodicals with periodical import business entities, must implement examination and approval formalities. The China Book Import Company exclusively engages in sales of original-version periodicals in foreign-related venues, sold products must be examined and approved by the General Administration of Press and Publications. Strictly investigating and prosecuting publications import business enterprises expanding import business scope and non-publication import business work units or individuals operating publications import work without authorization. Strengthening supervision and management over cultural products brought by individuals or sent by post from abroad.


15, Joint publishing must be approved by the General Administration of Press and Publications. Strictly controlling cooperation with foreign publishing organs. Domestic publishers and foreign publishers may not establish joint-venture publishing bodies within the borders. Domestic science and technology-category periodicals are permitted to establish copyright cooperation relationships with foreign periodicals, the duration of cooperation may not exceed five years, where the cooperation period expires and must be extended, it must be re-submitted for approval. The Chinese side grasps final content examination powers, the foreign side personnel may not participate in the Chinese side’s periodical editing and publishing activities.


16, Strengthening copyright trade management. It is necessary to strengthen amount control over annual copyright import, and conduct restrictions over the amount of  publishers importing copyright , strive to make the variety of imported and exported works and their amounts tend towards balance. Completing registration and filing systems, major themes must be examined, verified and filed according to relevant regulations.


17, Strengthening management over foreign publications and audiovisual products received as gifts. Receiving organs receiving more than 100 foreign publication copies (sets, items), or more than 200 audiovisual product discs, must pass provincial-level administrative culture entity or administrative radio, film and television entity examination and verification, and report to the Ministry of Culture or the General Administration of Press and Publications for approval.


18, Major cultural product import as well as major commercial cooperation project establishment, must be reported to the Central Propaganda Department for agreement before Ministry of Culture, SARFT or GAPP examination and approval. The Ministry of Culture, SARFT and GAPP according to these Rules, formulate and perfect concrete implementation rules for those entities, for implementation after Central Propaganda Department agreements.


These Rules take effect on the day of promulgation. After promulgation of these Rules, in all cases of departmental rules conflicting with these Rules, all entities must sort it out and revise it.


Central Propaganda Department

Ministry of Culture

State Administration of Radio, Film and Television

General Administration of Press and Publications

Ministry of Commerce

General Administration of Customs


28 April 2005



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